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GOOD IMPRESSIONS COUNT: Positive impressions, even when you first meet someone, make huge differences in what happens next.

What’s your response to ‘How are you?’

Nor’east Thinkin’: Your response reveals a lot about you — maybe even your future in farming.

First impressions and good impressions have always been important. They can even be a door-opener to future opportunities in agriculture.

Most of us, without thinking about it, reply to the “How are you?” question with “Okay, I guess,” or simply, “Good.” They’re autonomic responses — sort of a humanized version of auto-steer. They’re safe, but won’t kick open conversations.

But if you want to generate a response, I have two answers guaranteed to at least crack a smile. “Just full of it,” is a sure thing, and riskiest. Some will know exactly what you’re full of — good or otherwise. Those who don’t know you may need a quick follow-up explanation before their minds run off the high road. Nonetheless, it’s a face-cracking opener to further conversation, especially if you add “I bet you are, too”.

Interpreting what you’re full of might lead to a devilish grin and a nod. I wouldn’t try that one on strangers, though. It also might lead to a split lip or cracked rib – or slam the door on opportunity.

You might even get away with that one in some churches. But “Awesomely blessed, despite earthly aggravations,” is my favorite, and one we should all use a lot more often. It covers life’s whole landscape!

Most of us were born in this land of unparalleled abundance. We have more income and freedoms than most of the people living in other lands. With plentiful resources near at hand, we have more opportunities for individuals and whole families to succeed — be blessed. This is especially true in agriculture.

Yet, we all face aggravations and disappointments — financial shortfalls, personal failings, illness, divorce and more. Some are just better at covering up life’s downsides or taking them in stride than others. But “Awesomely blessed, despite earthly aggravations,” is truthful and something that many beg to understand.

Where I’m going with this
Your outlook on life is a picture window of your future. It’s particularly crucial for young farmers.

I recently sat at tables in two meetings with two different young farmers. While from neighboring communities, they were light years apart in life outlooks.

One continually grumbled about how no one could start or grow a farm business today because it takes so much money. True, it takes money to start any business. Smart entrepreneurs find a way to grow using OPM (other people’s money) and other resources. It happens all the time in agriculture for young people intent on ag career-building.

The other was working his vision with a step-by-step financial plan. He had impressed a landowner to give him a chance. He applied for and received several beginning/young farmer grants and low-cost loans. Despite a few mistakes, he remained positive and was working his plan with mentoring help.

One of our Master Farmer couples was a perfect match of a smart get-it-done man and a woman who never met a challenge she couldn’t solve. She’d always find a way, and their farm blossomed because of it.

A positive, work-the-plan mindset has always been the foundation of American agriculture. It always will be. Despite those insisting something’s impossible, successful men and women always find a way around such barriers. Tomorrow’s agriculture will be totally driven by this latter, positive attitude — just as today’s is driven by it.

Of course, a little levity helps keep you sane while waiting on success to arrive.

Bite-sized morsel
Envisioning what’s possible outside your brain’s box guarantees your mind won’t be trapped inside it.

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